24th June 2020 - MHRA issued the alert: PPE and heat: risk of heat stress.


24th June 2020 - BCLA issued guidance on the use of gloves in contact lens practice.


17th June 2020 - Following NHS England's letter on resumption of optical services in England, optical practices are now able to register with a wider range of wholesale suppliers to ensure that they have the appropriate PPE. In addition to the service set up by LOCSU and Primary Eyecare Services, a list of wholesalers has been supplied by NHS England, and is available to download from this page.


ABDO also has a list of PPE suppliers.


Free protective breath shields for slit lamps are available from Zeiss, and also from Alcon: email alcon.professionalaffairs@alcon.com.



PPE should also be available from Local Resilience Forums (LRFs), but the process varies from one area to another. After much chasing around, we now have an official process in place for both Bucks and MK.


Obtaining PPE via the LRF in Bucks (excluding MK)

(Advice received from NHSE on 12th May 2020)

Please email bucksccg.covid-19.ppe@nhs.net, explaining that you are unable to obtain any PPE from other sources. In your email state your expected daily usage and a clear delivery address (they can't just assume that it's the one in your email signature). At the time of writing, they have supplies of surgical masks, gloves (SML), aprons and visors. It should be stressed that this route is a last resort, for obtaining a small quantity as a stop-gap, when other sources are unavailable

Some people may have received a letter from NHSE, with details about a 'Direct Supply Channel'. At present, this route is not open to us, so the advice remains as above.


Obtaining PPE via the LRF in MK

(Advice received from NHSE on 22nd May 2020)

"Should you require PPE for optometry staff the following process should be followed:

 1. PPE should be ordered via local and regular wholesalers.

 2. If local supplies are unavailable, for urgent supplies please contact the National Disruption Helpline on 0800 9159964 - phone lines are open 24/7

 3. If both options above have been fully utilised and supplies will run out within 3 days based on current usage, for emergency PPE requirements please email the Primary Care Optometry Team on england.optometryeast@nhs.net .  Please ensure Optician store contact details and your specific PPE requirements are contained within the email.  Please write Emergency PPE Supply in the subject line of the email.

 4. A member of the Primary Care Optometry Team will contact you to confirm your requirements and arrange for a delivery of PPE via the Local Resilience Forum."


ABDO has advice on PPE


Guidance on the use of PPE is also available from the College of Optometrists. This includes: what PPE should be worn; advice on how to put on and remove PPE; how to dispose of PPE.


Further guidance on PPE is available from the AOP, including considerations on whether you need to see a patient face-to-face, and a video from Public Health England.


WHO has produced guidance on when and how to use a face mask.


On 3rd April 2020 guidance on the use of personal protective equipment was issued by NHS England. The letter and associated documents are available to download from this page.